Joined: Sep. 2006
|Quote (OgreMkV @ Nov. 14 2011,15:44)|
|Quote (Kristine @ Nov. 14 2011,13:13)|
|*Possible spoiler alert*|
I am sure that Kevin's film concludes that Hell is separation from God, a state of being, not a literal place - which is what I was taught, after all. Not everyone learns "Dante's hell." (Although I think they used it on us kids when my age was in the single digits.)
It's interesting that believers do not also refer to the Apocalypse as a state of being, then. Or creation - is not everything being destroyed and created all the time in a cosmos of change?
I think the concept of change is key - liberal Christians who accept evolution do so because they accept a universe of death and change, which IMHO really is much closer to animism/pantheism than the Lawgiver idea (who is unchanging because death and change are punishments).
One could also argue that any dungeon (hell) utilized even by the most benevolent deity represents that deity's unconscious, peopled with desires, urges, and actions that the deity denies (judges). I have always argued that Edgar Allan Poe came up with the idea of the unconscious before Freud, but one could also credit more ancient writers of this. Hell represents our unconscious and our dark side, which we fear. Unfortunately, cultivating this fear via religion does little to deter one from acting immorally, if one is so inclined, and uselessly and destructively torments those whose default setting is not be so inclined.
Has anyone else read the latest Ian Banks? Hell is examined very closely and is rather interesting.
Of course, the Christians really WANT hell to be a place of eternal torture and pain and suffering so that they can A) scare the non-believers into believing and B) thumb their noses and think "He'll suffer forever in hell" of someone that they don't like.
If hell is nothing more than the absence of God... well, sounds like heaven to me. Of course, heaven (eternally singing the praises of the sociopathic monster that is the Judeo-Christian God) always sounded like hell to me... and it would be for those poor souls stuck next to me in the chorus.
Do you want to know the truth? Sometimes I think that being an atheist means that there is no separation from "God" at all.
Don't get me wrong, I'm talking about "God" on a metaphoric level. I don't "believe" in God. Truth to tell, I don't believe in anything - I try very hard not to have beliefs (preconceived ideas) at all.
Most of my life is lived in silence. In silence there is dance, love, pleasure, and love. Christianity talks too much - most religions talk too much. I don't believe in talk - it does not cook rice. I believe (if I believe in anything) in phenomena.
Hell scared me for a long time, even after I became an atheist at age nine. (Who the hell becomes an atheist at age nine? Especially if she was, and continued to be, a shining Bible study student?) It scared me so badly that I lay awake at night thinking about it. I remember thinking about it in the dark while staying over night at my cousins's house (the younger cousin who just died of cancer).
Hell scared me even into college, when I re-read all those Hal Lindsey books that were laying around the house. You should have seen my reaction to the film "Fanny and Alexander" - I was so terrified by the religious imp -lications raised by that film that I literally trembled and cried in my ex's arms.
(He was also an atheist, and a preacher's son.)
Believe you me, I understand religious believers. I understand them more than they know.
But now I know about OCD, and that the "unforgivable sin" (which apparently is not taught to Catholics, according to Rev. Barky), which scares so many Protestants.
Do I still have nightmares of hell? OF COURSE I do! I did last night. But increasingly I have learned to put them in perspective.
"Hell" is my fear that I am not a good person - not in a legalistic sense (in either the secular legal or Christian) sense, but in the deep and human sense. In so fearing, I have come to see people that I do not agree with (esp. with regard to religion) as likewise deep and humane people. I have come to love them in a way that I do not understand.
I do understand. More than non-atheists think that I do. I have been through what has been called St. John of the Cross's pit of experience and survived.
Christianity was necessary - it was the logical outcome of paganism - but now we are at a transition point. People who are atheists, like me, who still struggle with religious fear are far ahead of those who were raised without religion, because there is a certain fear at the basis of existence.
I don't know how to put my finger on it exactly, but "hell" expresses our deepest fear, and thus our deepest humanity. There is something shallow about people who have never suffered deeply.
Christianity tells a deep truth about our fears of our own depravity. Unfortunately, it also tells a great lie about that same thing. Namely, that we are not as bad as we fear we may be.
I do think that Christianity was a necessary phase, but I wish it had been shorter, and less didactic. Christians who support ID talk of a "paradigm shift," but they do not want the BIG paradigm shift that is coming - which has to do with us forgiving ourselves of our sins, because they are human, and because they pale in comparison with the sins that we have committed in the name of "Christian morality."
Hell? I've been there. Everyone has been there. It is not a place, nor "separation from God." It is fear. And I have reached the point (even in my dreams) where I am no longer afraid.
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?
AtBC Poet Laureate
"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive
"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr